The Portuguese Water Dog (Cão de Agua portugues) is one of the oldest breeds in the world that lived near Portuguese coast and were irreplaceable helpers of fishermen. These dogs were true members of crews of Portuguese fishing vessels. They are amazing swimmers and divers, but are also invaluable guards protecting property and boats, even rescuing many fishermen from drowning.
Unfortunately, their popularity greatly reduced in the early twentieth century, due to modernization offishingmethods. In 1930 the Portuguese canine enthusiast Vasco Bensuade set out to preserve the breed standard and started spreading it. Around middle of the twentieth century puppies for sale were already exported to the UK and the USA. In the 70’s of last century Portuguese Water Dog went into the Guinness Book of Records as the rarest breed in the world. In the 80’s of twentieth century it was recognized by almost all leading Kennel clubs and associations, but it is still rare outside Portugal.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a medium sized animal, beautiful, strong, with a harmonious body. There are two varieties of this breed, with curly and wavy hair. Muscles are very well developed for swimming. Dog's head is broad and rounded. Eyes are round and apart, and ears are small and hanging down. Limbs are long, muscular and straight. Tail is not set too high, thick at the base and tapering to the top. When dog is excited, a tail is screwed up into a ball.
The most common coat color is black with or without white markings. Males are high between 50 and 57 cm and females - between 43 and 52 cm. Weight is respectively 19-25 kg and 16-22 kg.
Character and behavior
This breed has a strong-willed character. It is brave and temperamental. It has excellent vision and sense of smell, a very clever dog and retentive memory, and disciplined executive who loves to please its master.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a sociable, playful and cute dog. It could easily be a guard dog, rescuer, companion and help the mentally ill and elderly people.
Training and education
Because this breed is very smart, executive and quickly comprehends, its training is not difficult. It is better to begin training as early as 6 months of age because they have already developed their mind and you don't even need to repeat commands. The Portuguese Water Dog easily adapts to different environments. It naturally loves to swim, but other dog sports are its favorites: racing, agility, and obedience.
Grooming and care
The greatest advantage of the Portuguese Water Dog is that its hair doesn't fall. However, it is recommended to brush a coat once a week and bathe once a month. Cut dog nails and clean ears to avoid infections. This puppy can live in an apartment as long as you provide a necessary exercise. It is suitable for people with allergies.
This breed is healthy and some dogs live up to 18 years. The breed is prone to hip dysplasia and some other genetic diseases such as retinal atrophy, cardiomyopathy and others, so be sure to make his DNA tests.
Children and other pets
The Portuguese Water Dog gets along well with everyone in the family - with children of all ages, as well as with old people. It is not aggressive and does not have a problem with other dogs and cats. It is an excellent companion, calm and sociable.
The Portuguese Water Dog is a favorite of the family of US President Barack Obama, who has two specimens - Bo and Sunny.
Dogs of this breed have been used to detect people under a rubble of the World Trade Center after an attack on 9.11.